Rep. Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyClimate advocates turn sights on Wall Street House progressives call on Biden to end all new fossil fuel permitting Progressives push back on decision to shrink Biden's paid family leave program MORE (D-Mass.) received a round of applause from fellow lawmakers on Tuesday after delivering an emotional speech on the House floor regarding her life with alopecia areata, a condition that causes hair loss.
In the five-minute speech, the freshman congresswoman shared intimate details about coming to terms with the reality of her condition and urged support for a bill authored by herself and Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) that would allow seniors to purchase medical wigs using Medicaid funds.
"Mr. Speaker, I am now bald," Pressley said. "But I am in good health, and I am in incredible company."
"I have received an outpouring of love from people across the globe who are living with alopecia," she continued.
Pressley said she's gotten awkward stares, unwanted advice and even harassment since her diagnosis.
"I am making progress despite the hateful comments, the cruel and constant online harassment about my baldness, the intrusive and ignorant questions on the elevators, and the unsolicited advice," she said.
Pressley first revealed her diagnosis in January in an interview with The Root, explaining at the time that she felt "betrayed" after the last of her hair fell out shortly before the House's vote to impeach President TrumpDonald TrumpHillicon Valley — Presented by Xerox — Twitter's algorithm boosts right-leaning content, internal study finds Ohio Democrat calls Vance an 'ass----' over Baldwin tweet Matt Taibbi says Trump's rhetoric caused public perception of US intelligence services to shift MORE last year.
“But I knew the moment demanded that I stand in it and that I lean in,” Pressley said at the time. “And I exited the floor as soon as I could and I hid in a bathroom stall. I felt naked, exposed, vulnerable. I felt embarrassed. I felt ashamed. I felt betrayed."